A widow of a naval commander who was killed during the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, has become the first person to sue Saudi Arabia for supporting Al-Qaeda's attacks.
The claim, filed in a Washington DC court on behalf of Stephanie Ross DeSimone, her 14-year-old daughter, Alexandra, and her husband's estate alleges that, "At all material times, Saudi Arabia, through its officials, officers, agents and employees, provided material support and resources to Osama bin Laden ("bin Laden") and Al Qaeda."
On 9 September 2001, DeSimone's husband of two years, US Navy Commander Patrick Dunn, was working at the Pentagon, when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the headquarters of the US military. His body was recovered three days later. DeSimone had been two months pregnant at the time.
Terrorist funding accusation
The complaint, which was filed on 30 September and is available to view online states that, "Al Qaeda's ability to conduct large-scale terrorist attacks was the direct result of the support Al Qaeda received from its material sponsors and supporters, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
It goes on to accuse the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of supporting Al-Qeada for "more than a decade", and was aware Al-Qeada operatives were using Saudi's support to plan and execute attacks on the US.
DeSimone's is the first lawsuit of this kind to be filed.
But James Kreindler, a New York-based attorney specialising in aviation disasters and terrorists attacks, who represents 9/11 victims' families, told the Russian state news service RT that his firm would be making further claims in a federal court in New York before Monday.
The legal document does not state how much DeSimone is seeking in damages from the oil-rich nation.
Suing a state
DeSimone's claim, filed in Washington DC, came two days after the US Congress overwhelmingly voted to waive President Barack Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (Jasta).
Jasta enables US citizens to sue states that are accused of supporting terrorist groups through providing financial and logistical help. The law also allows allies and economic partners of the US to be sued.
Prior to Jasta passing, US citizens could only sue Sudan, Syria and Iran in the event of a terror attack carried out by those states.
Obama campaigned against Jasta, saying that the law would erode the concept of 'sovereign immunity' – that a state cannot commit a legal wrong, and is immune from prosecution or civil suits – and will set a precedent that could open the US to being sued for violent acts carried out by its military and intelligence agencies' actions, such as drone strikes in Yemen and Afghanistan.
Saudi Arabia's government raised the same concerns earlier in the week.
Its foreign ministry released a statement warning that the "enactment of Jasta is of great concern to the community of nations that object to the erosion of the principle of sovereign immunity, which has governed international relations for hundreds of years", and that "the erosion of sovereign immunity will have a negative impact on all nations, including the United States".
The Kingdom also threatened to sell off $750bn (£577.9bn) in American assets if Jasta became law, according to Iran's state news network Press TV.
The US House of Representatives voted 348 to 77 in favour of Jasta .
Before the vote, 28 senators signed a letter arguing Jasta should not be passed.
All the letter's signatories voted in favour of the bill, and it passed 97 to 1. Only Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, voted in support of Obama's veto.
After the veto was overriden by Congress, some US lawmakers have begun expressing concerns that the US will now be targeted with lawsuits. Politicians and civil servants in the UK have also expressed unease that the British military and Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) could now be at risk of prosecution.
In July, the US released 28 pages from a classified report investigating Saudi Arabia's links with the 9/11 hijackers.
The report concluded that the Saudi government did not take an active role in supporting Al-Qeada, but that members of its government may have deliberately ignored fundraising for the terror group carried out in the country.
Of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia.